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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 3 Hansard (14 March) . . Page.. 495..

Wednesday, 14 March 2007

MR SPEAKER (Mr Berry) took the chair at 10.30 am and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Emergency Services Agency—structure

MR PRATT (Brindabella) (10.31): I move:

That this Assembly:

(1) notes:

(a) that this is the third restructure of the emergency services organisation since January 2003;

(b) the restructure has been rejected by:

(i) the Volunteer Brigades Association; and

(ii) many professional officers in other services;

(c) the restructure has been soundly condemned by many volunteers; and

(d) since becoming the Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Mr Corbell has lost seven senior officers across the emergency services; and

(2) rejects the new structure of the Emergency Services Agency and calls on the Government to immediately re-establish a statutory authority as recommended by the McLeod Inquiry and reaffirmed by Coroner Doogan in her recommendations, so as to streamline the chain of command and ministerial oversight.

Mr Speaker, I stand today deeply concerned about the restructuring of the Emergency Services Agency and the state of the emergency services in general, and, along with my colleagues in the opposition, dismayed at the way that events have taken the turn that they have which will deeply impact on the effectiveness of emergency management capability in the ACT.

The restructuring last week of the Emergency Services Agency has caused great consternation across our services, both within the ranks of volunteers and within the ranks of professional officers. I will speak more about that later. I assure this place that this consternation is widespread. The opposition has had a good hard look at this matter and is absolutely convinced that the consternation expressed within the ranks of volunteer and professional units, brigades and headquarters staff across our emergency services is deep, convincing and absolutely honestly portrayed.

It is because of that feedback, as well as our own assessment, that we know, on the basis of what we have been looking at over the last 31/2 years, that a retrograde step

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